All roads lead to Newport, the capital of the Isle of Wight. Being more or less in the centre of the island, it is a convenient place from which to start your journey of exploration. Newport itself, however, has much to offer the visitor.
Newport was founded during the late 12 th century as a "new port" for the town of Carisbroke, which was the capital of the island at the time. There is, however, evidence of a Roman settlement in the vicinity, notably the remains of a Roman villa in Cypress Road. The scale of Newport's subsequent prosperity can be gauged from the many fine Georgian houses from the 18 th century that pepper the old narrow streets.
Newport also boasts a number of grand Victorian buildings from the 19 th century, most notably its Town Hall in the High Street, built in 1816 by the world famous architect of the time, John Nash. Probably the most attractive house in the town, however, depending on personal taste of course, is God Providence House situated in St. Thomas's Square, once the old corn market. Its five bays and splendid shellhood over the entrance make it a wonderful example of period architecture. It was named as it was because its inhabitants survived the plague of 1584. Many of those who did not are buried in the Church graveyard in Litten Park. Dominating Newport is St Thomas's Church. Although originating from the 17 th century from where the splendid pulpit still survives, it was rebuilt during the mid 18 th century. Newport's quay area provides much insight into the port life of the town. Quay Street, in particular, with its grand houses, and neighbouring streets have changed little since Victorian times while the quay itself is still full of small trade vessels delivering goods to the town.